Viewing entries tagged
overcoming obstacles

Feeling Uncertain About Your Future?

I know how it is to feel like you’re immersed in nothing but question marks. Whether it happened suddenly or by stealth, your life seems to have taken a turn down a road that’s dark and thick with trees so you can’t get a glimpse of what lies ahead.

It can leave you feeling uncertain about everything and fearful about not knowing what lies ahead.

But the truth is, we never know what lies ahead, not beyond the very moment in which we are standing. We make plans and we think that they’ll turn out as we expect. Even though we know sometimes it doesn’t happen like that, usually we keep moving forward on the assumption that things will go according to plan.

And we’re shocked when they don’t. Or we’re hurt or feel like we’ve failed. Or we’re afraid because we feel like we don’t have any control over our lives.

In reality, control is an illusion. It’s really just about having a plan and believing it’s going to go as you want. But other things come into play and things happen that you hadn’t anticipated, or perhaps you had but you thought you might be able to stop them.

You have this moment, and only this moment. The only truth that exists is the one that you experience right now. 

Everything can change in the next five minutes or the next breath. Things come out of the blue; life happens and the only thing we know for sure is that change is a given.

When you feel like you can’t stand the not knowing, just remember that you never really ‘know’ anyway. You’ve only got a plan, but there’s never any guarantee that it will turn out as you want it to do. 

When you accept this and just be open to going with the flow and seeing how it will all turn out, you’ve done yourself the biggest favour in the world. Now you don’t have disappointment, because you’ve given up expectation. Now you don’t have fear of the unknown because you’re happy to see whatever comes and view it as an adventure.

 

When you feel lost, it’s all about your perspective. You don’t really know any more or less for having a plan or not - because life will continue to unfold as it’s going to do. Be at peace with this moment and the rest will take care of themselves. 

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Your Strength Is Just Hiding Under A Pile of "Stuff"

It's wonderful to watch people go from strength to strength, taking the difficulties and wounds from their lives and chipping away at the healing and growth that come with time, practice and patience. We're really pretty amazing beings.

We can "take a licking and keep on ticking", as the advert for Timex watches used to say a million years ago.

People don't always react in the same ways to particular stressors. Some people seem to sail through extreme difficulties, whilst others crumble with fairly minor setbacks. What is it that makes the difference?

Well, there's no simple answer to that. Personality plays a part in it. Some people are just generally more easygoing than others, right from childhood. There are those little kids who never seem to get wound up, and others who come unglued over the littlest things.

So we've got a predisposition to cope well - or not - right from when we come out of the chute, so to speak.

Then you throw in learning and experience. Are you someone who has been through a long list of challenging events? Has the universe been hurling things at you over and over again? Have you been finding ways to cope with them through counselling, or support from groups or friends?

Or have you just slammed the door on all of that, and muddled through somehow, despite feeling completely overwhelmed?

People who have seen a lot of adversity may have developed some coping skills that those with less difficult lives haven't needed to use. It's the kind of practice no one wants, but whether we like it or not, some of us get anyway.

Whether your problems are enormous by someone else's standards or not is irrelevant. If they feel like they are to you, then they are. No one else has to live in your shoes or deal with your experience, just you.

So what do you do when you're overwhelmed by troubles? When you feel like you've had one boulder too many piled on top of you?

I've lived there far too often in my life, so I know what that's like. Sometimes I've bounced back quickly, other times not so fast.

It's always hardest when the only light you see at the end of the tunnel is the train coming at you.

There have been times when my usual tricks haven't worked. When it got really bad, I mean really, really bad, I couldn't find even a glimmer of hope, and that's a terrible place to be. I'd look down the road ahead and couldn't see anything positive.

All I could think was that there was no point being here any more, because it was just too much of a struggle with no end in sight.

It's not often that I've been in that place - thank heaven. But at least I've found something that helps me to get out of it.

When looking ahead doesn't do it for me, and in fact just makes it feel worse, I look behind me. I look at some of what I've been through in the past. I look at the traumatic and terrifying times, or the extreme financial struggle, or the life-threatening health issues.

I can look back through my entire life and see decades of difficulties lying there behind me, events I thought I'd never survive, struggles I thought would never end.

But here I am. I did survive, and those troubles did end. So when things get really awful now, I remind myself of that. I look behind me and see what I've overcome. I remember that I didn't think I could have done this or that - but then I did. It's like losing your car keys or that all-important pile of documents you need first thing in the morning. You know they're here somewhere, buried under a pile of 'stuff'. You just have to dig around a bit to find them.

When you're feeling like you can't go on, or you don't know how you're going to cope with the mountain of stress or problems you're encountering, you can reconnect with your strength by remembering that you've had it in the past.

You've come a long way, dealt with so much, and quite possibly with a whole lot worse than what you're going through right now. But you got through all of those hard times. And you found more of your strength with each problem you overcame.

Your strength doesn't leave you; it's always there, hiding under a pile of 'stuff'. You just have to remember it.

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"Hard" Does Not Mean "Impossible"

So you're facing something that's going to be hard to do. That's no reason not to do it.

"Hard" does not mean "impossible". No doubt you've faced loads of other things in your life that you thought would be really difficult, even when you were a little kid. And somehow, you did them anyway. You look back on those "little kid difficulties" and of course they're easy peasy now, right?

And perhaps you wish life could be easier - at least sometimes. But there's a reason why it isn't.

Each of us is here for a reason. We've all got a purpose and it's your job to figure out what yours is. Would you really expect that to be easy? Chances are you won't know what your purpose is unless and until you've been knocked around a bit and learned a whole lot about yourself. That's the only way to discover who you really are, and what's important to you, and how you can make a difference in the world.

In order to prepare for that, there will be a lot of learning to do. When you first start running, or going to the gym or taking yoga, you're stiff. You can't run very long, lift too much, or stretch too far. And it hurts like hell the next day.

But you keep at it, doing it again, and repeating the exercises, at the end of a week you can run a little easier, and stretch a little further. With continued practice, you improve, running, lifting, or stretching more all the time.

If you never encountered any obstacles or hardship, you would never have a reason to discover your ability to deal with problems. You would never learn how to cope with stress. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually, you would remain as a young child, never progressing because there would be no reason to do so.

We are here to learn. The only way we can make it easier is to pay attention to the lessons, to do our homework. Otherwise, we will keep getting the same lessons, usually in bigger and nastier ways, until finally we've cracked them.

If you want to keep slamming your head into a brick wall just to check if it really does hurt like last time, then go ahead and keep doing it. You're only causing yourself more pain and delaying your ability to progress beyond that point. The quicker you accept that your head + a brick wall = pain, the better off you'll be.

It is said that we are never given more than we can handle. From a wealth of personal experience, I'm very well aware that sometimes, that seems like a huge load of rubbish.

But you know what? I've also discovered that it's the truth. The only sticky bit is that we have to choose to handle it. We take a deep breath, and try a little harder. This is how we discover what we're really able to do and find out just how much inner strength we really do have.

Yup, life is hard. But it's also loaded with rewards, many of which come from a sense of accomplishment when we've overcome obstacles. We find our feet and learn what we can do, which gives us confidence and building blocks for the next set of challenges.

You've done lots of difficult things in your life and they've made you the wonderful, unique, and very special person that you are today. And if you're not feeling so wonderful, unique or special, think about what you've overcome, what you've achieved, and how many difficulties you crushed like bugs.  Remind yourself that you're still standing! You did it! And you're a better, stronger person for it!

See? "Hard" isn't such a big deal after all.

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Your Vulnerability Is Your Greatest Asset

It is time to risk sharing your feelings and stop fearing the judgement of others. You might fear letting people see “the real you” but if you always let this stop you from truly being yourself, you will never know the full extent of your capabilities and gifts.

Rather than keeping your feelings to yourself so no one can judge you for them, you would be better served by learning to trust that you are entitled to feel however you want to feel. Sure, some people might disagree with you or even criticise you, but so what? 

You don’t have to let it bother you. They can feel however they want - and so can you. Your thoughts and feelings are a reflection of who you are and no one has a right to judge you. 

In fact, more often than not, when people are spouting angry, judgemental nastiness at others, they are really talking to themselves. Let them rant all they want; you don’t have to take it on board unless what they say really hits home and stirs something in you that you know you would love to change or improve.

Some people will understand and appreciate your feelings; others will not. Just as you can relate to certain people and their situations, no doubt there are others that you just can’t figure out no matter how hard you try. At the end of the day, all of us are essentially the same. All of us feel fear, hurt, anger, and embarrassment as easily as we feel love, joy and happiness. 

When you hold yourself back from others and don’t let them see the truth of who you are, you don’t let yourself see it either. Better to come from a place of having faith and confidence in yourself for being who you’re meant to be, and bravely letting the world see who that is. 

By allowing yourself to be vulnerable and authentic, you will connect with the world in a much more deep and meaningful way. 

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Don't Let Excuses Block Your Path to Happiness

So. You're thinking of doing something that's difficult. Or perhaps you think it's impossible, or that it won't be particularly successful.

Maybe it's something you have to do, even if you don't want to do it. Either way, you're having trouble figuring out how on earth to do it.

You come up with an objection. There's this "thing" in the way and that's why it won't work. Maybe someone offers a solution; you might even think of your own. But then there's another "thing" in the way, another roadblock. And the longer you sit there, dreading doing it (or dreading that it won't work), the less you're inclined to try.

Instead, you keep coming up with one obstacle after another. And the hours and the days keep ticking along right past you.

Still, it needs to be done, or you really want it to be done, but nothing has changed, although you do have a lovely selection of obstacles, roadblocks and excuses stockpiled for future reference.

There will always be a reason not to do something. Whether you want to find it or not, there will always be yet another potential problem standing between you and a difficult challenge.

It won't get easier if you drag your heels. It will only grow in your imagination, becoming much more of a mountain than a molehill and the longer you put it off, the more difficult it will seem.

I was always one to encourage my children to try something new. When they hesitated, unsure about whether or not they could do a particular thing, I asked, "How will you know unless you try?" 

That seemed reasonable to them and all of them would try without another thought - and usually with very positive results. All except for one of them, that is. For some reason, one of my sons would always say, "I can't!" before he tried. It took a fair bit of convincing to get him to believe that maybe, juuust maybe, he could.

If no one ever tried anything new, we'd still be sitting around waiting for Thag to chisel a wheel out of a chunk of stone. Sure, there will always be failures but so what? The successes are worth the attempts, and besides, you only fail when you stop trying.

Samuel Johnson summed it up rather nicely: "Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."

Exactly. You can sit around and come up with one objection after another, as long as you want to avoid actually doing something. But that'll never get you anywhere.

Don't let excuses block your path to progress and success. They'll only send you down a very miserable detour on a dead-end road.

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Metamorphosis: Not Just for Caterpillars...

About a million years ago (or so it seems - I was still at school), I read "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka. I did not really "get it." But then, I was young, just beginning my own evolution - which, decades later, is still ongoing (exactly as it should be).

"The Metamorphosis" is the story of an unhappy man, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who lives with his family and awakens one day to discover that he has transformed into an enormous beetle-like creature. To make a long and very peculiar story short, no one takes the change very well. They avoid him, they fear him, and they shun him. They do not speak to him. His voice and speech have changed; he speaks to them yet they do not understand him, nor do they try.

There are attempts to treat him as they did when he was in human form. There are attacks on his body. There is ridicule, there is weeping. There is persecution and a stubborn refusal to accept who he has become.

Eventually, Gregor's love for his family makes him see that they will never accept him for who he has become. He sees that his metamorphosis is only causing them pain, embarrassment and unhappiness. He is unable to leave his room, or leave their home. So in order to spare his family any more suffering, he crawls into his bed and dies.

It seems most peculiar to me that I did not understand this story when I read it so long ago, when in fact, I was living it then, and I'm still living it now. I suppose I took it too literally and couldn't work out why someone would write a story about a salesman who turned into a giant beetle.

Throughout much of my life, no one understood me, or bothered to try. But then, for many of those years, I did not understand myself either.

Thankfully, this changed a few decades ago when I embarked on an ongoing journey of self-discovery. I've reinvented myself several times, with the most dramatic changes occurring in the last several years. I'm blessed to have some people in my life who welcome and embrace those changes, and who understand them and appreciate them.

For decades, many people have judged me rather harshly for making those changes. They seemed unwilling - or perhaps unable - to understand me, or the changes I was making. And they didn't even want to try.

It is one thing to dislike or reject change in oneself or one's own environment. But it something else entirely to stubbornly refuse to accept change in someone else.

This is where the first cracks appear between people, as change can signal the impending death of a relationship, a friendship, or a business arrangement. How each of them accepts the change - or doesn't - will determine the outcome of their association.

Others see in us what they want to see. A mother sees her grown children as her babies. A father sees his married daughter as "Daddy's little girl." Adult siblings still see each other as the pains in the neck they remember as kids - and sometimes still rival for the attention and affection of their parents.

Although it may seem sweet and sentimental to cling to the past, and to former identities and relationships, it is not a healthy way to live. Change is inevitable. For some of us, there is a lot more of it than for others.

Like many others, I've had a fair number of extremely challenging experiences and circumstances throughout my life. They have allowed me to continue to grow, to learn and to evolve, like a snake shedding the skin it has outgrown. And by sharing what I've learned through my willingness to change, I'm able to assist others through their difficulties or their desire for transformation in their lives.

Think about that word for a moment. "Trans" means across or beyond - so "transform" is rather like "beyond the form". The entire form or structure of something has changed, like a metamorphosis, in which something goes from one state to a completely different one - eg. a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

For people who are experiencing this kind of transformation, or metamorphosis, it is beautiful, empowering, and freeing. But for those who are left behind, it can be frightening and lonely unless they choose to understand or at least accept and acknowledge the evolution.

There are those people who will be able to do this. And there are those who will not. Some people are simply unable to comprehend such dramatic changes. It is not a flaw, not any more so than needing change is a flaw. It is just one of many differences between people.

It is one of the most difficult ones because it means some people move forward and into new situations, new lives, new ways of thinking - and some do not. When this happens, two people who were once traveling at a similar pace and in a similar direction are no longer even on the same road. One will have wandered off down a side road, taking a detour, disappearing into the trees on another path to discover Parts Unknown.

Change, evolution, transformation, metamorphosis...these are necessary for life to continue. At a very basic level, our cells die, and new ones are created all the time. If not for this, our bodies could not grow. Nor could they heal from damage or recover from illness.

But think about how we began - two tiny little cells that merged into one. And look at us now. If that isn't the most astonishing metamorphosis, I don't know what is. As I said earlier, if we didn't change, we'd still be sitting around, waiting for Thag to chisel a wheel out of a chunk of stone.

Change is a part of life. Greater change allows a greater life. And if you want to go the distance and transform your life, you must transform yourself. There may be people who throw themselves on the path, grab you by the ankles and try to hold you back. But if you allow this, you will not be happy.

It can be painful to leave those possessions, those places, or those people we love, and move forward in our lives. But sometimes it must be done if we are to pursue our own freedom, express our own individuality and uniqueness, and discover our own greatness.

And if everyone did that, just imagine what a magnificent world this would be...

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Your Spirit Is Stronger Than Your Ego

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." The first time I heard that, I was a kid. I had no idea how many times I would be confronted with that lesson in the years ahead.

I remember hearing stories of mothers tearing car doors off burning vehicles or overturning them to rescue their trapped children, or similar stories of physical strength in emotional situations such as those. Adrenalin, they say, is what makes those stories possible.

That kind of physical strength is impressive but it is also fleeting; it cannot be sustained.

Then you hear remarkable stories of survival in unbearable, horrible conditions, people trapped or lost for days, weeks, even months, given up for dead after terrible accidents. How do they carry on?

It's more than just a will to live. That kind of survival is driven by the spirit that is inside each and every one of us.

So where is it, then, when we feel defeated? When we want to just give up and check out? Where is it when we've been slammed onto the pavement over and over again after repeated disappointments?

It hasn't gone anywhere. It's still there. We've just allowed Ego to get in the way, and no, I don't mean Ego as in "boastfulness", which is what people often take that word to be. The Ego is a sense of self and personal identity. It's your human side.

When things go wrong, it is Ego that says, "I'm a failure." Or it might point the finger of blame at someone else and say, "It was your fault!" It is Ego that says, "I'll never be able do that! I'm not even going to try!" Ego says, "I've been beaten down too many times. I simply cannot get back up again."

When we remain locked into these kinds of thoughts, invariably we will be overwhelmed with "negative" emotions, such as sadness, grief, jealousy, frustration or anger. What you're thinking about will always lead to what you're feeling. So if you don't like how you feel, you must change your thoughts.

If you choose to remain attached to your Ego, you will continue to have these negative thoughts, which will lead to the negative feelings. You will remain stuck, unhappy, frustrated with your life or your situation and will be unable to move forward. It is only when you reconnect with your spirit that you will experience its power. All the adrenalin in the world won't do you any good without that mighty spirit urging you on, telling you "Yes, you can do it!"

When Ego is in the way, it is easy to make choices out of pain, need, anger, revenge, guilt and all sorts of other toxic influences. A decision that comes from a toxic foundation cannot possibly yield a healthy result.

But when you let go of the Ego and reconnect with your spirit, you are giving yourself access to the greatest power that is available to you. Your spirit believes and trusts in Divine wisdom and in your ability to use it. When you get out of your own way and listen to your spirit, it will guide you to the best choices you can make for yourself. Its enduring strength and mighty power will see you through anything, if you make the decision to use them.

To be 'in-spired' is to be filled with spirit - to be guided by Divine influence. When we are inspired, we get up and get moving. We create, we accomplish, we achieve. We are motivated, urged to do, to be, to build. That spirit never leaves you because it IS you! Ego shoves it out of the way, given half a chance, but if you make the decision to reconnect with it, your spirit will make its presence known very quickly.

Ego will steer you wrong, every single time. Your spirit never will.

Ego will get you into trouble. Your spirit never will.

Ego will allow you to self-destruct. Your spirit never will.

Ego will con you into self-deceit. Your spirit never will.

Ego will always be weak and fragile. Your spirit never will. 

Your spirit is far stronger than your Ego could ever hope to be. But Ego is a master of trickery and illusion. It will make you think it is the one in control, or that it is all-powerful, or that it is calling the shots and you have no say in the matter. It will make you believe you're weak, that you cannot achieve or accomplish, that you cannot create or move forward. It will make you believe there is reason to fear, and it will push you to make poor choices because of that fear.

It will make you think there is no reason to live, no reason to fight for what you want, no reason to love.

Your Ego would have you think there's something inherently wrong with YOU, and that your spirit is some separate and elusive entity that is hiding somewhere dark and difficult to find. But in reality, it is Ego that is a separate entity, a human identity that is not the real "You" at all, for you are a spirit contained within a body.

Any time you are thinking self-destructive or negative thoughts that make you feel disempowered, dark, unhappy, fearful and so on, this is your Ego speaking. Just as it shoved your spirit aside, reconnect with your greatest, purest power and let your Spirit shove your Ego aside.

In doing so, you will find the strength to move forward and to heal. You'll find the passion to create and accomplish. You will find the joy of living; you'll discover your greatness.

You are a beautiful, sparkling, extremely powerful spirit who just happens to transport itself through this Earthly life by using a body as a vehicle - a body that is comparatively weak and powerless, and that has an equally weak and powerless Ego attached to it.

To remember your spirit and to reconnect with its power, just get out of your own way and tell Ego to take a long walk off a short pier.

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With every ending, there's always a beginning.

Generally speaking, our culture is frightened of loss, one of the greatest of which is death. It is a subject that makes people squirm as they try to avoid discussing it. We have all sorts of euphemisms for it, we shield children from it and many of us struggle to cope with the idea of our own mortality.

In a Tarot reading, people come unglued when they see the Death card appear. They think it means they're going to die and once again, we see this aversion to the entire subject. But the Death card means change, transformation. It means death in a symbolic way, followed by rebirth.

And with rebirth comes a new beginning, a fresh start.

Physical death is like this, too, as we shed our bodies and return to the spirit realm. It is simply a transformation, but one that those people left in the earthly realm do not always accept easily.

Endings and beginnings...beginnings and endings...you cannot have one without the other. Too often, endings are not by our own choice, which can make the new beginning at least as difficult. Sometimes even though we need or want change, and we just wish this or that could happen, we're still hanging on to what we've got with a 'have your cake and eat it, too' attitude.

But too often, this is not how it works.  In order for those changes to occur, and for us to get the desired result, we must let go of what we've got now and make room for whatever comes next.

I used to be unbearably sentimental about 'stuff'. I had the most ridiculous keepsakes - ticket stubs, corks from wine shared on a special evening, bits of wrapping paper from special gifts, napkins, swizzle sticks, tiny plastic toys from boxes of popcorn, every card and letter I was ever given, and countless items so silly I can't even remember what they were.

And of course there were more 'normal' items to which I attached myself. Furnishings, ornaments, dishes - and like many people, there was 'my mug'. How many people are very possessive about a particular mug they use for their coffee or tea? Or about their favourite chair at the table, or where they sit in the sitting room? Sheldon's "spot" on the Big Bang Theory, or Archie Bunker's chair on All In The Family...

I used to be very connected to my 'stuff' and even more so to any of it that had even remotely sentimental value.

When I say 'stuff', I'm not just talking about material possessions either. I'm also talking about aspects of my life that were important to me. A relationship or friendship, an activity I loved, or some part of my life that I didn't think I could do without.

I kept focusing on the losses and was so immersed in grief I couldn't stand to be in my own skin.

With an ongoing theme of loss throughout my life, eventually I thought I ought to figure out what I could learn from it so it wouldn't feel so awful.

First, I realised that as long as I focused on the losses, I wouldn't see the many blessings that remained.

Secondly, I discovered that with loss (and all challenges) comes the opportunity for a huge perspective shift. It's a chance to look for the positives, to focus on the happy memories or relationships that are associated with whatever it is that is changing or gone.

And thirdly, there is the Buddhist view that all suffering comes from attachment, and I can certainly say that the less attached I am to any 'stuff', the happier I am because when the 'stuff' goes, without attachment it cannot hurt.

And there is another important point to remember. It's in not focusing on the letting go, the ending, or the completion. It's in focusing on the fresh start, the new beginning and what lies ahead.

Yes, it may be frightening to walk down a new and unfamiliar road, leaving behind everyone and everything familiar. But if that new road has been presented to you, there is a reason for it. You must let go of the old, the stale, the stagnant and finished, and embrace the new, the fresh, the expanding and beginning. Before long, you'll have walked through the endings and blended straight into the beginnings, living the Death card and experiencing rebirth and the magic of renewal. It's a chance to create something different, something better.

The Wheel of Life will always mean there are endings. But the good news is, you cannot have an ending without a beginning.

Sure, you can fear beginnings if you want to do that, but it's better to see them as exciting adventures. A positive attitude will go a long way to reducing the impact of any speed bumps or potholes on that new road so buckle up and don't look back; you already know where you've been.

Now let's see where you're going!

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Happiness is not a destination; it is a choice.

sunflowers.jpg

I'm probably gonna take some flack for that title. I can well imagine people will be popping up with all kinds of objections, like how can they possibly be happy in this or that horrible situation or while surviving some tragedy or other.

I get that. I've lived that. I'm still living it because I have a pulse. All of us get nasty stuff lobbed at us if we're breathing. It is the nature of being alive on this planet; it is an inescapable fact of life.

I've got a life story that reads like a soap opera (more like several) - all your standard issue insanity, and pretty much everything you'd find on daytime TV, apart from having an evil twin appear out of nowhere (not yet anyway) or being cloned (I could use a few of those).

And although some people have had it much better than I, many have had it much worse.

But that is neither here nor there. This isn't a contest to see who's had a more traumatic life; we've all got our own pain to endure, and our own obstacles to overcome.

Within that pain and those obstacles lies the challenge to pursue happiness, whatever else is going on. That challenge is what stretches us, teaches us, allows us to expand, to grow, to find strength to get us through the darkest of times. And in doing so, we learn valuable lessons that we can pass along to others - an added bonus beyond our own progress and development.

Happiness is not something you find and keep; it is as elusive as the shroud of mist that hangs in front of the moon. It is not a destination; it is a choice you make every moment of every day. The pursuit of it is its own reward, for it is in travelling that road that we are open to finding happiness here and there, dotted like bright sunflowers peeking out from the brush and trees. The more of them you find, the more you will want to seek.

It doesn't matter what else is going on. No, it really doesn't! There is always, always, always room to step out of your 'stuff', your pain, your grief, your abject misery and find a bright sunflower. Even if you just take a peek, it is sweet relief for your soul when it is allowed to set its gaze on such beauty and rest a while.

Sometimes we're blessed to have an unexpected little 'sun shower' of happiness and how wonderful it is when that happens! But in between those lovely glittering drops that brighten our lives, it must be understood that the only way to find happiness is to discover it as if playing Hide and Seek. It will hide and you must seek, moment by moment, and in so doing, you will create the happy life that you desire.

 

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How to Climb The Mountain That's Staring You in the Face

Have you been to hell and back a million times in your life? Have you felt like you were standing at the base of a mountain, your destination the other side of it, but not seen one bit of figurative climbing gear to be seen? - not one harness, not one descender, nope, not even one little crampon?

I know what it's like to look up at the top of that mountain. You feel like you'll never get there - but you know you have to do it; there's no turning back. So now what?

If it's too much to look up, turn your attention to the base of the mountain. You'll feel a little less pressured if you just focus on what you can achieve right now in this moment, and leave the rest to unfold as it will.

I know that sometimes when I've glanced up at that mountain top, I've felt immobilized. I've wanted to give up before I started. So I just grabbed onto the first bit of rock I could reach, picked up a foot and found a little step up. As long as I continued to do that, I made progress. Looking up was not an option. I could afford to look only at what was directly in front of me.

Whatever it is that you're facing, find the first rock that you can handle and take that small step. Leave the biggest, scariest rocks if you can, and get some of the smaller ones out of the way first.

Soon you will feel a bit of relief. Your anxiety will diminish; you will feel stronger. It will reinforce your belief that you must not, under any circumstances, look up, not just yet. To do so might be paralyzing. Forward movement and momentum are paramount. So just keeping grabbing for one small rock at a time, and don't look up.

Before long, you will feel ready to tackle the most challenging rocks. They might not put you at the top of the mountain right away, but you'll be well on your way to reaching it. You might even be able to look up after that. Because the beauty of it is, you'll also be able to look down and see how far you've come.

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How to Grow Your Very Own Big Problems. Or Not.

Once upon a time, there was a little problem. Like all the other little problems, this one hoped that someday, he would grow up to become a big problem. And if he could be a really lucky little problem, he would get to join the military and might even become a Major Disaster.

He had an enormous fear of failure so he paid close attention in class, keeping his vision for the future uppermost in his mind. The first thing he learned was that his mortal enemy was the light. He would be most vulnerable in plain sight, out in the open. He must do his best to remain hidden, where he would feed on the darkness and with any luck, someday he could achieve his ultimate military goal.

His teacher said that his best chance of survival depended upon finding quiet People who had lots of carpets, under which they would stash any problems they could find. With plenty of darkness under carpets, there was always a feast fit for a king and any little problem lucky enough to live in such a place would grow very quickly in size and strength.

One day, the little problem found that he was on the sweeping end of a broom and whoosh! - there he went, tumbling and rolling well under a beautiful Persian rug. How exciting! Finally, he would have a chance to become a big problem!

He was thrilled to meet all the other little problems that were hiding under that carpet and being quite the extrovert, he planted himself right smack in the middle of all of them. With plenty of darkness to keep him well fed, he grew rapidly and it wasn't long before he felt his first thump in the head when one of the People tripped on him.

"Oh, goodie!" he exclaimed. "I'm growing up! This is progress!" And he and all the other growing little problems laughed and giggled amongst themselves.

After a time, there wasn't much room under the carpet any more. The problems had melted into one another, just like cinnamon buns that had been too close together on a pan and had risen and blended, one into the next. They had grown so large that the People had to use ladders to climb over the big lumps in the carpet.

One day, while everyone was having an afternoon nap, the growing little problem was awakened by People voices. They used words like depression, worry and fear.

"Oh, no!" he thought. "We were so close to becoming Major Disasters, and now we're doomed!"

Alarmed, he woke the others as quickly as possible. The frightened problems lay quietly while they heard words like "financial troubles" and "no work". They heard about illness and too much stress.

The more words they heard, the more the carpet was pulled back from the edges of their hiding place, gradually exposing them to the light. The unfortunate ones on the perimeter went first, shrivelling and shrinking the very moment they were out in the open.

Horrified, the not-so-little problem watched as one by one, his friends died and then vanished right before his eyes as the carpet was lifted closer and closer to where he lay in the middle. And there was nothing he could do but lie there and wait his turn.

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